Me, spilling out all my thoughts, inner and outer, on just about anything! Lots of poetry, short stories from past experiences, anecdotes about teaching elementary school, music, relationships....garage sale type thing...Something For Everyone!

Monday, July 31, 2006

I Could Handle Cottage Life!

I returned from my sister's cottage late Sunday night, rejuvenated but sad to leave the lake. We had our annual "Sister-Babefest", the three of us. This entails non-stop talking about everything under the sun, games, looking through magazines, doing and assessing each others' hair, libations of choice (mine are always just plain old diet pop!), plenty of snacking, and great meals!

We are fortunate to actually love each others' company and we truly cherish this time at the cottage. Of course, the one brother-in-law, the owner of said cottage, who has to endure all this, escapes on his bike, disappears into town for groceries and volunteers to take the garbage to the dump just to make space! The poor guy! He's a great gourmet cook and doesn't hesitate to use his fabulous culinary skills on special meals. All his endeavours in the kitchen are not lost on us and we look forward to every appetizer (brought down to the beach!) and scrumptious meal.

There was a wicked thunderstorm and we had a power outage for 5 hours one afternoon so we got playing the typical cottage games; Euchre, Cribbage, and an old 1969 version of Password. It was absolutely hilarious! As the martinis and coolers disappeared, the games got proportionately funnier.

The lake was beautiful and man, I'm missing it was 36 degrees Celsius and will be again tomorrow! I seek respite from the steam bath of my house, here in my husband's office after hours.

Meanwhile, I'm still dining on the fresh memories of Sister-Babefest 2006.

Mother of Invention, dreaming of cool waters where the loon's call echoes forlornly across the lake.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Cardio Report Card!

Going away to a cottage for a week so I'll leave you with my report card from the 13 week rehab program. It may help some design a program for their own cardio health.

My stress test last week went very well, in fact, it couldn’t have gone better!
I was worked really hard and was on the treadmill for 9 minutes 52 seconds. My heart rate went up to 150, mind you, I was having a hard time breathing by then and was going to have to tell him to stop soon, but I so didn’t want to do that! I hung on even though I was practically running and the elevation felt very steep, probably 12 %.

The doctor said my heart was in A-1 shape and that I didn’t have any limitations, short of running marathons…big laugh! I increased my METS level (oxygen uptake into the blood with every heartbeat) from 10.2 to 11.5 throughout the course. That doesn't sound like much of an improvement and other people improved by more but they said I had a pretty good level before the heart attack, thanks to the walking I had been doing for the past 5 years. Had I not had a walking program, I might have had a heart attack 10 years earlier!

My weight is good with a BMI of 22, although BMI isn't the best way possible to measure body fat. Weighing a person under water is quite accurate, but I guess they didn't want to do that with some elderly cardiac patients!
All this good news gives me great incentive to carry on the program on my own.

Here is my prescribed program:

Warm up: 5-10 mins-easy walking and stretching
Cool Down: 5-10 mins

Frequency: aerobic endurance exercise activities lasting 15-20 minutes gradually increasing in time to a maximum of 40-60 minutes at moderate to strong effort, 3-5 days per week.

At present, I am only at about 35 minutes, 3 times a week, so I do have a long way to go yet. Some days my muscles, greatly affected from fibromyalgia, will be too sore. Some days I will be too tired. Some days I simply won’t feel well. But I know it is crucial to work at this and to watch my fat intake. I also have to watch carb intake and try my hardest to match my insulin so that my blood sugar is not too high or too low.

This will be the way it is for the rest of my life so I might as well get used to it.

Here it goes!

Mother of Invention, wearing her heart rate monitor and ready to tackle the paddleboat at the cottage!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Poetry Friday Challenge

I was asked to post this again to serve as the Friday Poetry meme from over at Mona's blog, Mona's Barbaric Yawp ...
A favourite university professor of mine, Homer Hogan, who wrote two of my Grade 13 textbooks, "Poetry of Relevance", proclaimed that anybody could write a poem about anything. On the first day of his class, he showed us how it was done. He simply had us look at our left hand and gave us three minutes to write 4 short lines that described what we saw there. Mine was:

cut finger
chipped polish
chocolate mole
cherished lifeline

He had piqued my interest and somehow my hand shot up to share mine. Homer loved it and wrote it on the board to discuss its merits. I was elated and I can tell you that I NEVER missed any of his classes!!
Years later, who would have thought that I’d be doing the same exercise with my Grade 7 class?! Of course, I had them trace their left hands and print the poems inside the shape, cutting it out to display on a bulletin board.
I continued to encourage these kids saying, "You could write a poem about doorknobs in 3 minutes if you had to"! Well, it just struck me that I have never, in fact done it! So here comes the challenge….if you dare…send one to me!
Here’s my 3-minute doorknob poetry!

clear crystal
wooden door
fancy old house
silver steel
garage? laundry room?
modern and practical
shiny copper
gleaming brass
find the polish
newly built
darkened copper
skeleton key
copper smell on your hands
after using
house aged well
a million hands
a cogillion germs
"Dr. Hygiene, Could I have picked this up
from a doorknob?"
(certainly hope so
always did wonder about that one)
friendly doors open
private doors closed
depends on your policy
door # 1
will always be my choice

Mother of Invention, keeping all doors open to you!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Getting It All Wrong

Written words so often fail me. They are inadequate to convey real meaning and intention. A few friendships I have had, got all muddled up because of the failure of words on a page to communicate my true thoughts.
This is for anyone else out there who has had this happen......ah, if you ken my meaning!!

words merely typed
(not even said in a tone
to hint at their true meaning)
can be so misconstrued
by the reader
and are so dependent on
the frame of mind,
that it makes a huge impact
on the spirit with which words are received.
and this is an unfortunate thing indeed...

the light, lively and fun
can become heavy, blind and serious
or ....
it could nail it and elicit a smile,
a response in kind,
a much appreciated
mission accomplished.

extended word counts --
verbiage from the heart,
perhaps well-meaning advice
a new point of view,
can be seen as ridicule
and can spawn defensiveness
where nothing but empathy
and protectiveness
were intended.

short, clipped, and succinct
can be felt as uncaring callousness --
dismissing any highlights
hoped to be treasured
and perhaps even passed back.

openness and honesty,
intended to be a gift
shared in a nurturing spirit,
-- raw vulnerability,
can become threatening--
with the undue pressure
of expectations
difficult to fulfill.
-- too much room for error
and misjudgment.
when does one take a step back
and where does one go?
was communication any clearer
before someone created signs
representing words
and marked the cave wall?
perhaps even this pre-historic pictogram
was also misread once too often –
maybe we haven't come such a long way after all......
Mother of Invention, hoping you got some of that!

Hassle-Free Photography!

Sometimes we can get caught up in a moment trying to photograph it, and in doing so, we miss its true essence. We have our own camera – no buttons, no zoom attachments, no loading film or memory cards, no downloading onto discs, no developing prints….


They always turn out perfectly.

Freeze Frames

clearly crystallized Kodak moments
I have remembered so well
fast frozen in my mind's eye
with its superior lens
an ever so still life
automatic focus
such sharp images
I'll never forget
Mother of Invention, still trying to figure out all the buttons on my digital and thinking that thankfully, there's always that unfilled, never-to-be-deleted memory card in my head!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Walkin' The Walk!

Today, at 11:00 a.m., everything I've done in the last 13 weeks in the Cardio Rehab program comes to light. Everyone from the two 37 year-old army base men, (who you could hardly believe had experienced heart attacks) to the three 78 year-olds with me in between, will find out how much we've improved since the start of the program, when we had the initial stress test.

All that sweating on the torture treadmill, the many fast-paced laps of the hospital basement, the tiring 10 minutes of groaning on the the bikes, and the sets of shoulder-burning hand weight exercises all culminate in this tell-tale test. Too late to study now!

I know I've improved but the long road to full capacity stretches out before me yet. These programs are much too short and I feel like a young bird being pushed out of the nest before learning to fly. The goal is to do 30-60 minutes of exercise daily, with 20 minutes in your target heart rate zone. Everyone's target zone is different depending on your age, resting heart rate and condition of your heart. My zone is 125-137 beats/minute which seems to be high.

Most of us have not worked in that zone for even 10 minutes. Some days it is more of a struggle to get there because you may be more tired that day. Some medications make you feel tired and some just make you sweat like crazy! I really wish I could sign up for another session. Other programs are 6 months to a year. I'm sure there will be a certain percentage of people who will just be unable to carry on the program in a similar way, especially elderly people who may not have access to equipment or safe places to walk.

But I guess the bottom line upside is that we are all a heck of a lot better than we were at the beginning of the program, and this must be very rewarding to the doctor who is testing us today! He'll certainly be smiling and I will smile back. (And I'll say a thank-you as soon as I catch my breath!! HA! HA!)

Mother of Invention, doing my stretches!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Poem For Roses (created from the post below)

Many people ask me about how I create my poetry. I maintain that you can write a poem about anything. One easy way is to express your ideas about something, as I did on the post below, and then, condense those ideas into concise descriptive words, arranging them in a format you like. I often don't use any punctuation but I sure use that centre button!
The use of some stylistic devices, such as the alliteration I love so much, (repetition of initial or internal letter sounds) allows for a more interesting and appealing sound when it is read. Here it goes!
Grandma's Roses
early morning
at Grandma's house
two young girls -
my sister and I
greeting her garden
bending, stretching
deep inhaling
smelling roses
dew drops dripping
from perfect prize-winning petals
each different hue
a variation on a theme
a scent to be savoured
and fast frozen -
the kodak moment
of our minds

Mother of Invention, zooming in on that picture!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Days of Roses Are Numbered!

Sad to say, my roses, of a few weeks ago, are slowly and gently meeting their annual demise! I love roses, although my favourite colour is yellow, as I had for my July wedding, and I don't have any of those.

Roses remind me of my Grandma's garden. She actually won prizes for them! There was every colour imaginable, and in those days, they all smelled so lovely! Mine don't have any fragrance at all. My sister and I would tour the garden several times a day, paying homage to each bloom, one at a time, as we bent or stood tall to deeply inhale the heavenly scent. The best time was in the morning, when the dew drops were still hanging onto the petals, glistening in the slanted rays of early sun.....what a sight to behold, even now, etched in my memory!

A Kodak moment imprinted in a little girl's mind!

Mother of Invention, thinking that next year, I'm going to get yellow roses that actually smell like Grandma's!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Poetry Friday: "Patient"

Here's a definition, as I gaze upon the weekend traffic outside my door!

patience personified!
sitting waiting
cars lined up
bumper to bumper
headed north
hot as Hades
Air con broken
wasp inside
kids fighting
thirsty and hungry
grumbling and whining
car is idling
polluting air
laboured breathing
gas gauge down
getting dark
still need groceries
stores are closing
cat is yowling
dog needs out
Mother of Invention, wishing you all the patience you need!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Fluff From The Dryer?!

This is one of those low-keyed posts of ordinary things I call, "Fluff From The Dryer"....nothing really important...just catching my breath after the last two or three days. Well, everyone does laundry! It's what makes us human and bonds us all. We can be so different, yet the same.

I'm recovering from another late night after going to a friend's 50th birthday BBQ at their 1840 restored log cabin home. There were several huge gardens of flowers and organic vegetables, and willow or iron sets of furniture in various places to sit down and enjoy. They gave us a ride in an old car made from a boat! Very cool!

After dinner, we enjoyed the beautiful sunset, and built a campfire, singing favourite songs to the guitar. Night sky was clear and the stars were hanging low. The moon was almost full and bright orange! Coyotes were howling. What a perfect July night!

Today, I have my last cardio rehab class before I am pushed out of the nest to fly on my own. It will be a struggle but I need to do it. My reward for today's efforts will be the massage that I have this afternoon in my husband's office at the front of our house. I can hardly wait! I savour those.

Otherwise, I am leaving the rest of the day to just evolve....which is quite okay with me!

Mother of Invention, waiting for evolution!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Marriage: Is It Just A Piece of Paper?

It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day twenty-six years ago that my husband and I got married. We were truly blessed and have been ever since. Even though I could not have children because of diabetic complications, our lives have filled up with the joy of many friends and different activities that we might not have been able to experience otherwise.

I have heard it said that a marriage certificate is not worth the paper it's printed on, or maybe it's only worth the cost of that paper. Of course, this is highly individual, depending upon the success or failure of the relationship, but today, I thought about that piece of paper as I walked into our guest bedroom.

On the wall of this "B&B room" as I've named it, hangs my grandmother's marriage certificate. It is a beautiful piece of art with its pink apple blossoms swirling around the pictures of some biblical people. On the top, are silver bells on which is written, "For better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part".
At the bottom, a bearded man in shepherd's clothing, is welcoming several people on camels. Below is written, "And Isaac lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, the camels were coming. And Isaac took Rebecca, and she became his wife, and he loved her." Gen.
It is dated, "On the ninth day of October, 1912".

With our two biblical names, Ruth and David, I like to think we identify somewhat with this revered certificate and are connected somehow to the sancity of marriage through my grandparents.

I came upon this certificate while searching in my attic for a "Writer's Suitcase" for school. No one knew it was in the suitcase my parents gave me when my grandma died. The paper was actually ripped in places and my good friend, who is a framer, restored it and framed it in gold, matting it to match the wallpaper. It is an outstanding piece of art to which you are immediately drawn as you enter the room.

I have placed an exquisite, antique, porcelain wedding doll on the chair directly beneath it. And behind her gorgeous, ivory satin dress, I have slipped a faded, white photocopy of our plain, businesslike marriage license. The irony is not lost on anyone!

Luckily, for us, the "piece of paper" we got on July 12, 1980, means nothing - compared to the 26 years we have loved and been faithful to each other.

Mother of Invention, gazing thoughtfully at Isaac, Rebecca, and the apple blossoms, thanking my lucky stars.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Bonnie, You've Still Got It!

Last night's concert was absolutely fantastic!

Bonnie Raitt is an all-time favourite of mine and she lived up to my expectations as she rocked the whole Hummingbird centre with her blues, rock and gentle ballads. She is clearly the most eclectic musician there is, playing slide guitar (her claim to fame!), keyboard, and every other kind of guitar you can imagine.

It was a real surprise happening when Shirley Eckard, the Canadian who wrote, "Something to Talk About", got up from the audience to sing this with Bonnie. This is the song that really made Bonnie famous and apparently, it was rejected by everyone else.

The crowd responded loudly to all the rockin'' numbers, but you could have heard a pin drop while she sang her heartwrenching love ballads with minimal accompaniment; just her trademark raspy voice, sending us the raw pain to which we can all relate. Everyone was silently tearing up and I swear there was collective sniffling from the audience throughout these songs.

And..Bonnie looks great, over fifty, fit, fabulous and funky! She talks and sings with the same voice, oozing out pure cool in a southern drawl that flows like molasses! Her flaming red hair with its distinctive grey streak down the front suits her sassy personality!

Bonnie, baby, you're the best! Keep on singin', honey!

I'm "re-sharing" a song (minus the melody!) that I wrote after the last time I saw her...she was as inspirational then as she is now!

Okay, Bonnie, I need one of your funky tunes! (And you to sing it, of course!)
For all those people who are just not who they profess to be ... you are so transparent to me...and at the end of this road, you'll never fool the Big Guy!!

Facin' the Music
You might think I have no business telling you this
But Baby, you sure got a whole lot to hide
It might hurt that ole male pride
To reach down deep inside
Grab a little courage
Throw the pretense away
And show me who you really are
It's only fair to be on par
So, Honey, you can stop writin' it
And try facin' it
I'm talkin' about the music in your heart
You shoulda done it from the start
But you better keep time in mind
There may never be enough left for you to come clean
From the places you've been, Baby
You're only a fraction of who you profess to be
Don't you see?
I'm tryin' to do a save
But you're not bein' brave
You're not even listenin'
Walkin' off whistlin'
The same old tune
You're goin' down soon, my friend
We're all free to choose
There's nothin' to lose --
Try takin' a chance
Take a real hard glance
At the dance you've done, Darlin'
'Cause it's a restless place in Hell, Honey
So wrench yourself free of the lies
For when that Eagle flies
You all the way to the sun
Everything'll be done
And you'll be dyin'
With the lyin'

Mother of Invention, still rockin' on!

(any tunes out there?!)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Exciting Monday!

I'm excited because tonight we're going into the Big Smoke to see the fabulous Bonnie Raitt concert! The special occasion is our 26th wedding anniversary which is actually this Wed., July 12th. We saw Bonnie about 5 years ago but she's since come out with a few more CDs and I love to see her perform. She makes her slide guitar look so smooth. Her words just ooze out like molasses when she speaks or sings....such fluidity! I think I know every bar of music in all her songs! She has so much funk and soul just flowing out of her from her southern roots - enough for all of us!

Okay, Bonnie, I'm up for ya!

"Let's Give Them Something to Talk About"!

Mother of Invention, listening to all her CDs today!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Simply Sunday!

The weekend has been lovely so far, perfect summer weather, a BBQ at friends last night, and a wonderful day again today.

My husband's parents celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary and the twelve family members are gathering at our place, and then, heading out to a fabulous Canadiana Restaurant.

The building is an old historic inn and is decorated in early Canada Pioneer style, my favourite! Antique pine furniture and beautiful old dishes create the authentic ambiance. The employees all dress in period costume which really adds to the atmosphere, making it seem quite genuine.

The menu is rustic and plain, but very tasty! To start, they welcome you with a basket of piping hot sourdough buns and cheese biscuits with an individual butter dish for each person. There is a good variety of basic wholesome meat and fish entrees, and excellent soups. The salads are "built" to great heights as if designed by some famous architect! You have to dismantle them carefully on a plate before you savour every bite! They always garnish them with edible flowers, like small pansies, fresh from their onsite garden. Of course, they add sprigs of parsley, mint, fennel and other herbs to their main dishes or desserts.

Even the jugs of water are special! They always put plenty of fruit that is in season to make it flavourful.

My mouth is watering already as I anticipate my pork tenderloin or prime rib served with various chutneys and compotes!

It is truly a step back in time!

A Simply Sunday Fare, indeed!

Mother of Invention, wishing I had a long, calico pioneer dress to wear!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Poetry Friday

For the bloggers who gave this Friday's word, "rock". There are a few new words I took poetic licence to create!

This is for my husband...
Rock of Ages
solid energy
since the beginning if time
fossiling freely
dynamic but mild metamorphing
igneously firing up my life
a sedimentary settling effect
eroding my worries
steadfastly staying
beneath my feet
yet far above me too
I look
to my Rock of Gibraltar
Mother of Invention, lucky to have such a constant "forever-rock" in my life!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Lighthouses and Safe Harbours

Safe Harbours

others seldom guess
the real selves
we harbour deep down inside
to protect our fragile psyches
from all that thrashing around
in rough stormy waters
crashing into the dock again and again
turbulent even when moored –
we lose the rope sometimes
and are cast out to sea
roughly and abruptly
not knowing where we’ll end up
lost and alone
tearful and tentative

then suddenly
we see our lighthouse switch on --
it calms our soul
showing us the way back
to our safe harbour

and we enjoy the ride
once again

Monday, July 03, 2006

One Day Pride?

What 's up with Canadians and how we show pride (or don't) in our country? Why do most of us scramble to find our flag, iron it, and then hastily place it outside JUST for Canada Day, only to take it down the next day and discard it on the basement floor?

This would never and just doesn't happen in the United States. When I went to Lake Placid, I was struck by the observation that every single cottage had a flag on the lawn, the dock and on every boat! Most homes had flags and I know each teacher's desk has one as well as in each classroom.

Here, you will probably see more flags on boats in cottage country than anywhere else. Hardly any classrooms have them anywhere. We don't even know where to tell the children to face while we sing our national anthem each morning! It really seems ridiculous to me. Why are we so hesitant to display our pride and allegiance?

We need to take more cues from our American neighbours to the south!

God Bless America.

Mother of Invention, feeling a little embarrassed!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Cottages Beckon!

This is the Canada Day long weekend here so Happy Birthday, Canada!

We live in a small town just south of cottage country and we have witnessed the mass exodus from the city to cottage country, a little wistfully I might add! Cottage-owners we are not.

The kids have finished school, people have been packing up for the holidays and a steady stream of traffic has been flooding through our town since yesterday. It is just easing off now but will start up again early tomorrow. The grocery stores will be busy if any are open. People will buy fireworks. And I am missing out on this tradition, as always!

Ah well, I am celebrating with close friends at a BBQ tomorrow night and visiting other friends on Sunday. I will not have to fight traffic! The mosquitoes will not be eating me alive! The water will not chill me! There will be no sunburn for me!

Sour grapes? No, not really......although, just looking at this campfire picture from last summer at my sister's cottage, I can hear the bonfire beckon, and I have a sudden yearning for roasted marshmallows on a stick!

Mother of Invention, singing, "Happy Birthday" to my country, and swatting only a few mosquitoes!